Hello darkness my old friend

So much can change in seven days.

One Saturday it’s all sunshine and pumpkins and leaves blazing against blue skies, and the next it’s wet sticks and relentless wind, the willow’s branches swept bare. I scoffed at Cane a week ago when he suggested that it would be our last sunny day until spring, then conceded that, perhaps, it was the last of a certain kind of sunny day. But I didn’t mean it. I thought we’d surely have more.

I was wrong.

The coleus plants that have flourished in our window box since August withered in days, and the pumpkins on our front porch seem suddenly garish. One afternoon I stepped outside to carry our old Daisy down the steps she now too often stumbles upon and was surprised by the cold that bit me right through my sweater. In just a week our corner of the world went from glorious to grubby and grim.

So now we turn inward, toward candlelight, simmering soups, woolly socks, and soft blankets. These are the weeks–this short lull between holidays–for sitting away a whole afternoon in a cafe with an old friend. For playing a game in front of a fire, and clearing a table to hold the pieces of a puzzle. It’s the beginning of wondering where another year has gone and of pondering what we’ll make of the next. Tonight darkness will descend before we’re ready for it, and we’ll feel something inside ourselves hunkering down for the long haul of winter, even though its supposed beginning is still weeks away.

I’m more than a little sorry to let go of what feels like true autumn, those afternoons of kicking crisp leaves with boots that feel new simply because it’s been so long since we’ve worn them. But this late stage is just a different kind of true, one that tests our loves in ways that easy days never do.

(A human can learn a lot from her canines about adaptation and comfort.)

Would love to hear all about how you weather this time of year, and what it’s like in your part of the world.

7 thoughts on “Hello darkness my old friend

  1. Kate says:

    I love all these wonderful pictures so much! They capture the season so perfectly!

    We’ve had a long, unseasonably warm autumn. The almanac says we’ll have a frigid and dry winter which is my very least favorite (I don’t mind cold, I just like when it comes with snow) so I hope fall hangs on for awhile yet.

    Our winter plans so far include a weekend bonfire on the ice, a snow tubing adventure with kid friends, a long ski weekend, and I’m going to do a LOT of needlecraft. Winter becomes my favorite season as I get older – it’s slower and cozier and full of twinkle and pajamas.

    • Rita says:

      Your winter plans sound wonderful. I doubt that I will ever become a fan of what the calendar calls winter–January and February–but I do like much of these days from now until the end of December. (Though I love fall more. I’m basic like that.) I like slower and cozier and candlelight, too. I like an excuse to stay in and do not much of anything (though I rarely do that). I’d like it even more if we got snow here. It’s only occasionally, and in recent years it is more destructive ice than snow. But I’m not going to follow that line of thought anywhere this morning. This morning, I’m going to stay in today’s rainy cozy.

  2. Marian says:

    Your home is beautiful, Rita. I just love seeing the way the light plays on your floor—one of my favourite things about this time of the year is how far the sunlight now reaches in. We’re farther south than you, so we’ve still got leaves on many of our trees. Our neighbour has three Autumn Blaze maples along our common fence, and they always put on a stunning show. Fall and winter are my favourite seasons—I love being cozy inside when it’s cold outside, but we also make sure to get outside a lot for walks or for cross country skiing when there’s enough snow. We also nearly always have a puzzle on the go during the winter, especially when my older son comes home for Christmas break.

  3. Kari Wagner Hoban says:

    Your sweet puppers in the basket makes me happy.

    We sat outside last evening, admiring the beautiful leaves on our trees. We stayed out there until it became dark, which doesn’t take long anymore. But what used to make me sad is no longer a source of sadness for me. Those leaves will be gone by next week. So I’m going to enjoy them as much as I can right now.
    Kari Wagner Hoban recently posted…What Is Savoring?My Profile

  4. Ally Bean says:

    Your photos are lovely, especially that last one! Follow the doggo’s lead. He knows comfort.

    I like this time of year because as the leaves fall from the trees a kind of stillness descends on my world. I know that December’s forced frivolity is coming, but from Halloween until Thanksgiving life seems relaxed. I’m not forced inside by the icy cold nor am I burnt to a crisp outside by the sunshine. All is balanced which I like.

    • Rita says:

      I am with you; these few weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving are one of my favorite times of year. I like having permission to hole up at home, puttering and nesting and making comfort food. I am getting better at resisting the forced frivolity (easier when one’s children are grown), and so December is becoming more of a time I like, too. I might be becoming a winter person.

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